COVID-19’s Impact on the New York State Courts: Legal Community, and Litigants – with selected bibliography


Court personnel, litigants and their attorneys clearly felt the impact of Covid-19 as they were struggling to stand upright in a world turned upside down.  Personal lives were disrupted.  Court operations were chaotic.  Filings, motions, depositions, hearings, trials were massively upset with many defaults and dismissals.  The self-represented faced closed help centers. Everyone faced initial challenges of life under emergency directives. and the implementation of a variety of new ways to operate while reducing in person contact.

How prepared were we for such an unanticipated event? How well did we do?  How can we avoid chaos in the future and minimize fallout? Like picking up the rubble after a tornado has blown through your house, everyone is struggling to return to a new normal.  The impact of Covid-19 was so widespread and the plethora of issues provoked so complex, that it’s going to take a while. Yet now, more than two years later, the pandemic is waning Recovery has begun.

The Historical Society of the New York State Courts offers a look back at Covid-19’s impact in Dispensing Justice  From a Distance: Journal of the NYS Courts During the 2020-2021 Pandemic. 

A host of additional resources highlight that problems are being recognized and solutions being formulated.  Several of these have been organized in, COVID-19’s Impact on the New York State Courts, Legal Community, and Litigants – The following Selected Bibliography, compiles articles, reports and websites reflecting the state of the literature available with a specific focus on issues affecting the New York State Courts.




COVID-19’s Impact on the New York State Courts, Legal Community, and Litigants – A Selected Bibliography, July 4, 2022

assembled by Deborah E. Melnick, Principal Law Librarian, Retired

This selected bibliography compiles articles, reports and websites reflecting the state of the literature available with a specific focus on Covid-19 issues affecting the New York State Courts and beyond.

Historical Society of the New York State Courts

Dispensing Justice From a Distance: Journal of the NYS Courts During the 2020-2021 Pandemic  

New York State Courts

Coronavirus and the N.Y. State Courts 

Statewide Administrative Orders Index

Local Administrative Orders Index

Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts 

New York State Unified Court System. Annual Reports:

Chief Judge DiFiore Delivers 2021 State of Our Judiciary Address – Press Release March 2, 2021 (summary with link to actual her address)



 Covid-19 Likely to Lead to a Flood of Insurance Litigation. May 26, 2020.   

Federal Judge Orders Covid Vaccination as a Condition of Bail. August 19, 2021.

How Covid-19 Will Affect Litigation in New York and Beyond.  Law360. March 25, 2020.   

Impact of COVID-19 on New York Practice: Overview by Practical Law Litigation

Lichtman, Jeffrey.  The Impact of the Coronavirus on New York Federal and State Cases and Inmates.  Accessed 24 June 2022.

New York’s Legal Limbo : Pandemic Creates Backlog of 39,200 Criminal Cases. New York Times.  June 22, 2020. 

Only 9 Trials in 9 Months? Virus Wreaks Havoc on N.Y.C. Courts.  New York Times. December 2, 2020.  

Riley, Naomi Schaefer. How the Pandemic Slowdown in Court Devastated NYC Kids’ Lives. New York Post. March 26, 2022.


Reports and Studies

New York City Bar Association and The Fund for Modern Courts.  The Impact of Covid-19 on the New York City Family Court: Recommendations on Improving Access to Justice for All Litigants (January 2022)

New York City Bar Association.  Impact of COVID-19 on NYC Area Solo and Small Law Firms, June 5, 2020 

New York State Bar Association. Health Law Section Task Force on Covid-19. Covid-19 Report. May 14, 2020; Revised September 20, 2020.  

New York State Bar Association; Purcell, A. Craig and Malone, Shannon.  How COVID-19 Has Affected the Practice of Tort Law in New York State.  9 December 2021.


Web Resource Centers

The New York State Bar Association. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Center.  “A comprehensive virtual information Center.”  

  • This site hosts a variety of resources, including a noteworthy list of journal and news articles.

New York City Legal Services.  Covid-19 Resources for Clients.


New York Law Journal –

April 24, 2020.  “A Very Different Court System:” Marks Says There’s No Timeline for Lifting  Ban on Nonessential Lawsuits in New York.

May 8, 2020.  Lawyers See Coming Surge in White Collar Criminal, Civil Cases Stemming From Pandemic.

May 14, 2020. New York Readying Surrogate’s Courts for Surge in Estate Cases in Wake of Covid-19 Deaths.

May 26, 2020. Perfect Storm for Divorces: NY Matrimonial Attorneys Forsee Pandemic Breakups.

May 26, 2020.  Surge of New Lawsuits Filed in New York City as E-Filing Reopens to All Cases.

June 4, 2020.  Coronavirus Surge in Legal Cases.

July 16, 2020.  The Show Must Go On : Legal Issues Affecting Broadway Amid Covid-19.

August 19, 2020.  Commercial Division Sees Uptick, Followed by Flattening in Case Filings.

August 27, 2020.  NYS Bar Association Forms Task Force on Covid-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care Facilities.

November 3, 2020.  Winter is Coming : How Lawyers and Staff are Dealing with Covid Fatigue and Stress.

December 29, 2020.  Lawsuits Filed in 2020 Over Covid-19 were Diverse, but Limited.

July 14, 2021.  Here to Stay : Expect Remote Hearings to Become Post-Pandemic Fixture, Rakoff Says.


New York Impact and Beyond

A Dangerous Limbo – Probation and Parole in the Time of Covid-19. ABA Journal. May 15, 2020.  

Baldwin, Julie Marie, Eassey, John M. and Brooke, Erika J.  Court Operations during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Am J Crim Justice. 2020; 45(4): 743-758. Published online 2020 Jul 12.

  • Of particular note are the “References” included at the end with citations and links to information provided by the National Center of State Courts, National Association of Court Management, National Association of Drug Court Professional, SCOTUS weblog, Justice Management Institute, National Law Review, National Judicial College and others.

Easing the Burden of Fees and Fines During Covid-19 – Impact of Court-Imposed Fees and Fines.  Brennan Center for Justice.  Published 27 Mar 2020; updated 7 Jan 2022.

Law Firms are Staffing up on Bankruptcy Lawyers in Anticipation of a Post-Covid-19 Boom.  in ABA Journal.  July 28, 2020.

National Center of State Courts.  Twelve Essential Steps to Tackle Backlog and Prepare for a Surge in New Civil Cases.  A Pandemic Resource from CCJ/COSCA.  July 8, 2020: Version #1.

What Covid Taught Real Estate Attorneys About Force Majeure.  Law360. March 9, 2021.

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